Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 16,17,18-Day 14,15,16 Val Marie to Elbow Sk.

     We were a little reluctant to leave Grasslands Park as it is a magical spot.  However we have to move on if we want to complete our trip.  Chaplin was our first stop as we heard there were Piping Plovers there on Chaplin Lake.  A huge lake where they mine sodium phosphate.  I wondered where they get that stuff from.  The local campsite was $15 a night on the honour system.  A nature center catering to birders told us where we might find the Plovers and they were right.  We found our lifer after little searching.  We decided to celebrate by travelling 40 miles to Gravelberg for supper.  We heard they had a good restaurant called the Cafe de Paris.  When we got there we found out they only served paninnis and wraps.  But they were good.  On the way back we saw a badger peeping at us through some long grass.  I should say I saw it as Dian never could pick it out.  We checked for Piping Plovers again before we left Chaplin but no luck.  We considered ourselves fortunate to have seen one.  June 17 we left for Douglas Provincial Park on the shores of Diefenbaker Lake.  A great campsite for $22 a night.  Redstarts, Veerys, Yellow Warblers, House Wrens, Catbirds and more serenaded us as we set up the trailer.   June 18 we set out for a location north of Elbow where Scott Wilson, a Saskatchewan birder, kindly informed us of another Piping Plover location.  He was bang on as we found a pair with young after a half mile hike on the shores of Lake Diefenbaker.  I took a few shots and we left trying to disturb them as as little as possible.

A shot taken at the Crossing RV site.  A fellow was setting up is tent and the cattle gathered to watch him.  It was hilarious.

A Shoveler mother and her brood.

An Upland Sandpiper checking me out.

A Willet is quite a drab bird until it flies and reveals the wing pattern.

A male Wilsons Phalarope incubates the eggs.  This one must have had a nest close as it was doing a distraction display.

It was raining as we headed to Douglas Park so we decided to take a side trip to Moose Jaw and visit the Western Development Museum.  This trailer handmade in Manchester England caught our eye.

Franklins Groundsquirrel or Bush Gopher-they are all over our campsite.

Veerys are also common in the campsite.  

Last evening I went down to a small pond hoping to find some beaver.  I lucked out with 2 but not with my lens.  It was way to powerful to capture all of these surprisingly tame subjects.  They would swim up to me and stare me down.

Diefenbaker Harbour at Elbow Sask.  where I have found a WIFI signal for the blog.

Another nice flower.

While I was watching the beaver this muskrat also wanted to get in on the action.

Our target bird.  We have looked for the Piping Plover many times before and it was satisfying to finally find them.

3 young Piping Plovers were scurrying away from us.  These shots are heavily cropped as we didn't want to get too close.

     We have to do our birding and photography between rain showers as the weather is unsettled. We are also finding ticks to be a problem.  I found one at the nape of Dian's hair.  I think they like the dark as I found one close to where the sun don't shine on myself.  We average 3 or 4 a day.  Luckily I don't think any have bitten us yet.  Off to Saskatoon tomorrow, June 20.


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos, Len. I am glad you and Dian are enjoying our province.
    Kathy in Estevan